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What Causes Hospital Fires And What Can Be Done To Prevent Them

Hospital fires are:

An alarming and potentially catastrophic threat to healthcare facilities around the world.

Posing serious threats to patients.


Infrastructure alike.

Understanding their root causes is critical in devising comprehensive preventive measures against future fires; this article explains their causes and emphasizes the importance of fire safety protocols in healthcare settings to prevent emergencies.

The risk of the possibility of ignition in a hospital environment can arise from a variety of sources, including equipment that produces heat, as well as the storage of hazardous chemicals or electrical wiring that is not working properly.

Electrical Equipment

The leading reason for hospitals catching fires involves electrical devices. To stop these fires from happening, hospitals must adhere to fundamental safety rules. Every electrical device should be maintained and inspected frequently. Cables and sockets that have been overworked can cause fires. 

Therefore, power strips should be connected directly to the outlet and not daisy-chained (linking power strips). Hospitals must also install automatic shut-off devices for any electrical equipment if they are able. Hospitals can reduce the risk of fires and ensure their patients are secure by following simple safety guidelines.

Kitchen Facilities

A similar fire erupted at a hospital in California that caused the hospital to suffer $11 million of damage and shut down the hospital for more than two months. The cause of the fire was traced to an electrical oven within the kitchen. Although no one was hurt, the damage that the fire caused was significant.

This is merely one example of how a fire in the kitchen can result in significant destruction. To keep fires out of your kitchen, watch your electrical appliances and don’t leave them unattended. If you cook with fats, be sure to properly eliminate them so that they don’t accumulate and start a fire. Always be sure to practice fire safety by installing a functioning fire detector installed in the kitchen. If you follow these easy guidelines, you can keep a fire from consuming your kitchen in your home.

Did you realize that kitchen fire facilities are very common? They are the most common cause of fires in commercial structures. This is due to cooking fats and electrical appliances, and open flames can be ignition sources.


Cigarettes are a leading source of hospital fires, as per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In reality, cigarettes cause an estimated $400 million worth of destruction every year.

Even though cigarettes are not allowed in medical facilities, some people may sneak them in, and when smoking outside, make sure to dispose of them properly.

Smoke-related fires in hospitals can be particularly hazardous because patients are usually sick and unable to leave quickly. Additionally, hospital fires can quickly spread because of the numerous substances that can ignite in these buildings.

To avoid hospital fires to avoid hospital fires, the NFPA suggests:

  • Not smoking indoors
  • Properly getting rid of cigarettes
  • The establishment of a “no smoking” policy for the entire facility

These simple guidelines can aid in keeping our hospitals free from fire.

Specialized Medical Equipment

In recent times, there has been an increase in hospital fires that are caused by specially designed medical equipment. Because of their power output, electrosurgical and laser instruments are commonly used as ignition sources. These fires can be caused by the use of oxygen tanks and surgical attire and sterilizing fluids that are flammable.

Hospital staff must remain aware of the dangers these kinds of equipment could pose and should be aware of the precautions needed to avoid their use. Electrosurgical instruments and lasers should be utilized in well-ventilated areas and avoided from oxygen tanks, surgical attire, and flammable liquids. If they can, the items are best stored in fire-proof containers or cabinets.

If there is a fire, hospital personnel should adhere to established fire safety guidelines. Get the area evacuated immediately and contact the fire department immediately. Do not attempt to put out the fire alone, as this can expose you to injuries. If you follow these easy steps, hospital personnel can assist in stopping fires that are caused by specially designed medical equipment.

Hand Sanitizers

Hand rubs containing alcohol are often employed in hospitals to help prevent the spread of infections. However, these hand rubs can be extremely flammable and should be stored at least six feet from any potential ignition sources. Recently, numerous hospital fires were caused by improper storage or usage of hand sanitizers and caused a significant amount of destruction and even death.

To avoid such catastrophes to avoid these tragedies, everyone in the hospital should be trained in safe storage and use of hand soaps. Also, hospitals should consider making investments in non-flammable alternatives for alcohol-based products that will provide the same amount of protection but without the danger of fire. By taking the appropriate precautions, we can ensure that hospital fires will be no more.

Gas Cylinders And Medical Oxygen Compliance

As per the National Fire Protection Association, hospital fires are triggered by medical oxygen and gas cylinders more frequently than other causes. In fact, over five years, gas cylinders, as well as medical oxygen, were the cause of almost 25% of hospital fires.

Although the reasons for these fires are varied, the improper storage and securement of gas cylinders and medical oxygen are usually the cause. It is essential to make sure the gas cylinders, as well as medical oxygen, are safely stored and secured to stop fires.


Hospital fires can have catastrophic impacts, especially because of vulnerable patients, as well as the importance of the care provided. The causes of these fires differ in a wide range, including kitchen and electrical equipment to smoking, devices for medical use, such as hand sanitizers, gas cylinders, and medical oxygen, and even the improper use of extended cords.

Recognizing these issues, educating staff, maintaining equipment, and following strict safety guidelines are essential to reduce the chance. By anticipating the risks and adhering to strict fire safety procedures, hospitals can reduce the risk of fires and provide a quick and secure intervention should a fire break out, which will protect both the lives of patients and the property.


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